accepting a job offer without ever meeting face-to-face

by Ask a Manager on July 9, 2012

A reader writes:

I interviewed via phone for a position earlier this week. The interview went really well, in my opinion, and I received a note from the hiring manager that, although they are still completing the evaluation process, they are very interested in me. The manager was adamant that I let them know if I have any decision deadlines on my end. I’m very interested in the work and it seems like a great fit for my skills.

What I’m wondering about is that there is no second, in-person interview, according to the information I was given when I asked about the next steps in the process. They are planning to make an offer to one or two people in the next week. Given that accepting the position would require me to move, I would like the opportunity to see the building and meet my potential coworkers in person before accepting any sort of offer. If I were to receive an offer, would it be unreasonable to ask to visit the office prior to accepting the offer? I would be willing to fly to the city on my own dime and combine the visit with an apartment search.

It would be not only reasonable but wise. Taking a job where haven’t met your manager face-t0-face is always a risky proposition, and it’s even riskier when you’d be moving to take it.

Say something like, “I’m really interested in and excited about the position. I’ve never accepted a job sight unseen before though, and especially since I’d be moving, I’d love to get the chance for a quick face-to-face meeting before we finalize things.  I’d be glad to fly out to meet in person on a day that’s convenient for you in the next week.”

And regarding that timeline … The trick here is going to be making your visit happen really fast. If they’re like most employers, they’re not going to want to wait weeks for you to make a decision, so you’d need to hop on a plane as quickly as possible — ideally in the same week that you receive an offer.

Also, remember that this is going to be your meeting, since you requested it. That means that you’ll need to come prepared to lead the discussion — don’t look to them to set the agenda.

By the way, I have to say that I’m wary of a company that would make you a job offer after a single phone conversation (unless it’s for a short-term position, which I’m assuming it’s not since you’d be relocating). So make sure that you’re doing other due diligence on them as well — that you’re asking lots of questions of them, that you’re talking to anyone you know connected to anyone connected to them, that you’re watching for red flags, etc.

You can read an update to this post here.

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie July 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

It seems a little weird to me.

I got an internship like that, but it was through an government agency, an exchange program so I did meet someone face to face, but before my first day I only briefly spoke to the manager over the phone.

Plus, as a manager I would like to meet the person before extanding a job offer, especially if it’s for a long term job.

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Danni July 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm

This is one of my concerns right now! I am leaving my job in December (it’s a research assistant/manager position which will end when I finish my MA) and so I am starting the job hunt. I am looking to move back to the UK but I want to have a job lined up before I go (obviously this is the ideal circumstance). I certainly CANNOT afford to just fly over there for random interviews, plus I have classes and a current job.

I was hoping that phone interviews/skype interviews would be acceptable but I’m really concerned about how to go about this. I can’t afford to move over without a job because I’d really have no place to go.

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AD July 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

It’s not unreasonable to have a thorough interview process via phone/skype when considering an out-of-town candidate, but the key word is thorough. In the OP’s case, it sounds like a single phone interview, perhaps with a single manager, and I imagine that is what is sending up the red flag with AAM.

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Janet July 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

In some industries (journalism) moving is necessary for a job and papers/TV stations are beyond broke so this happens quite a bit. I accepted one job sight unseen and in retrospect I should have done what AAM is recommending. You want to get off on the right foot and get a good gut feeling for the management team and the office. Also, if they balk at this, it’s a pretty good indication of how they treat their employees. Someone who won’t pay a $500 investment (roughly for flight or hotel) in a new hire isn’t someone who is going to be easy to work with for raises or pay.

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Dawn July 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

This is a situation I find myself going into soon- my husband and I want to move to Texas and will need to find jobs first. AAM- so in this situation, if I found a job where they loved me and I liked them over the phone, would it be a usual business practice for them to fly me to an in-person meeting? Or would that be an expense I would need to take on? I’m not talking for an interview, but for a “Hey we’re totally going to offer you the job so here’s a ticket so you can fly out and meet us face to face before your first day.”

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Totally depends on the company. There are lots of companies that no longer pay for candidates to travel to interviews (they either don’t interview out-of-town candidates at all or expect them to pay their own travel costs). And of course, there are companies that still do pay travel costs. It just depends. All you can do is ask — but do be prepared to pay your own travel, since that’s often part of the price of a long-distance job search these days.

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Dawn July 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Thanks! I’m prepared to pay for it myself when it comes up, but it’s totally new job-searching territory for me, so it’s good to at least have some idea of what to expect.

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Two-cents July 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

In my experience, this is quite common with government organizations, particularly the federal government. But it is pretty unusual for a private company to hire someone who the manager hasn’t met face-to-face or at least via web, such as Skype. However, depending upon the particular skill set and budget for interviews and relocation expenses, it’s more common among private employers than it used to be.
Alison’s advice is spot-on. Do ask for them to sponsor a visit and if you don’t already know what they’ll cover, find out more about any relocation support they will provide, including time to hunt for a place to live and time to pack, move and unpack your belongings.
Good luck!

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OP July 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm

It is a position with a federal agency. Good to know it’s quite common. Do you think that they would still be open to a meeting? I’m guessing that any trip I make would be at my own expense, since there is no relocation assistance. But, I suppose it couldn’t hurt to ask about the costs for that particular meeting, right?

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I know some will disagree, but since they’re perfectly happy to hire you sight unseen and you’re the one who wants the meeting, I don’t think I’d ask them to cover the costs.

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OP July 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

That answer fits best with my gut reaction, but it feels like such an odd situation that I appreciate all of the advice. Thanks!

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Gene July 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

As a government employee (Federal, County, and City) since I graduated high school when Nixon was in office (I’m guessing AAM would tell me to leave high school off my resume ;-) ), this isn’t unusual for the Feds, but is much less common for local governments.

Even for interviews, governments seldom pay for travel. I’ve paid for all mine on long-distance job-hunting.

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littlemoose July 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I also accepted a job with a federal agency in another city after one phone interview. The phone interview was with two of the supervisors, so I did have some idea what they were like. It was a great decision for me, as it’s a great job that I’m still in today. That said, I think Alison makes some great points about the value of the in-person visit. Admittedly, when I took this job I had been underemployed for a year and a half, so I was pretty desperate. But it has worked out very well for me, as I said.

I’ll also add that I think it’s unlikely the federal agency will have the budget to pay for travel for a potential hire. If you do want to have an in-person visit first, you will probably have to pay for it yourself.

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Tanya July 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I’ve gotten hired for four federal positions (over several years) out of my state with no in-person interview. The first time was for a job that required an extensive security clearance so I assumed that they knew everything they’d want to know about me. When it happened the following times I just assumed that this is the way the federal government operates. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve always applied for jobs out of state and have never been asked to travel to interview. I agree with the other commenters that if OP is relocating s/he should ask to meet in person.

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Ellen M. July 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Good advice – also if they are reluctant at all to having you visit before accepting the position, that would be a red flag.

I would think they’d *want* to meet you too, in person.

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SCW July 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

This happened to me. I had a phone interview that went really well, but was a really brief initial screan type of interview. During the interview it came up I was interviewing for another position for another library. They told me at the end of the interview that they would probably be calling me back the next day to set up another interview, but when they called me back they offered me the job. I was so excited I accepted, not realizing that I had no real conception of what the job was going to be. I moved across the country to find that the job was quite a bit different from what I expected. It was a good experience that I learned a lot from, and I really grew in that position, but it was not something I would ever want to repeat. I just went to a new postion and when I interviewed for it, I asked a lot of questions about the job so I would be as prepared as possible!

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Ivy July 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

That would be a good experience… Scary though…

You said you learned a lot, but did you like the position you were given? How long did you stay before finding another job?

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SCW July 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm

The job was not what I thought it would be–I ended up doing more entry level work and the culture was not a good match. But I got some good experience doing a whole lot of things I might not have gotten the chance to do otherwise. I liked some things about the job, and my direct supervisor was great, but you could tell it was the kind of place that didn’t have a lot invested in their staff–they could hire someone to replace you with just a half hour interview. I was there almost three years before I found another job. My current job is not perfect, but the administration is less dysfunctional.

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Long Time Admin July 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

“…but the administration is less dysfunctional.”

Sadly, that’s the best some of us expect these days. It’s not “good”, it’s just “less bad”.

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Ivy July 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

It’s great that you have such a positive attitude about it. I can see people (including myself) being miserable because I was at a job that I didn’t really want, in a place I kind of disliked, and had to stay there because of the poor economy. Probably not being able to say I gained any valuable experience at the end… You seem to have taken the best out of a situation, which is fantastic! Kudos to you!

Oh and +1 for Long Time Admin’s comment!

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Ivy July 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I totally agree with AAM… Maybe they didn’t want to suggest meeting in person since they don’t have the funds to pay for your stay and they don’t want to force you to pay for it. They should be happy to meet you before taking the plunge I think… and if they’re not, then that’s a HUGE red flag…

As a complete side note, Alison I loved the open thread you did a few days ago. Is that something you would consider making regular (monthly maybe?). I feel like there are a lot of questions that don’t seem important enough to email, but that are nice to get to ask. Plus I loved freely talking to all the other AAM members!

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Yes! The two I’ve done seemed so popular that I’m thinking I’ll do them monthly.

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anth July 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I was offered a job out of state w/o a face-to-face. Had a trip planned and ended up meeting the manager/other staff in the office.
As I was looking for out of state jobs, I was advised to plan a trip on my own accord, and let phone interviewers know that I would be up the week of x/xx and able to meet in person then. I’d highly recommend that for anyone looking at out of area jobs. If they need you to come in sooner you can rearrange etc, but I think it shows commitment to say you are going to be nearby and can meet in person.

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Student July 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I can understand wanting to meet your co-workers . I can’t understand wanting to meet your co-workers in person and I can’t understand wanting to see the building.

What about the building will influence your decision to work or not work with these people? If you have questions about how well they’re appointed, you should just ask – this is the kind of thing you can work out easily in an email. You aren’t realistically going to uncover serious building flaws with a brief visit, and no location is perfect. If you want to learn about the local town, use the internet or just ask.

Is there a very specific concern you have that seeing co-workers face-to-face will alleviate, or can those concerns be handled remotely? If you want to meet your co-workers beforehand, maybe a brief video-conference with a few of them would give you an idea of whether you’ll fit in. How about instant messaging? Maybe you could ask the manager to give you their email-addresses and ask them your questions that way. Perhaps you could talk with a couple of them via telephone. Realistically, meeting them face-to-face doesn’t add much to this.

It’s understand able to feel some discomfort at taking a job without the face-to-face, but I’d encourage you to regard a decent-length phone conversation or an email back-and-forth as a genuine meeting. Clearly, your manager thinks business matters can be handled without the face-to-face, so you may be expected to do this kind of business frequently. Would that be an issue for you?

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I agree that there’s probably not much to be gained from seeing the building, but I do think it’s worth meeting the manager face-to-face before accepting the job. Managers have a huge impact on your daily quality of life at work, and there are things that you can pick up in an in-person conversation that don’t always come across over the phone. Sometimes you can just tell more about how you’ll gel when you’re in-person.

And all this is especially true when the OP would be taking the risk of relocating.

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fposte July 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm

And even the place can matter. Have they promised you easy parking, but it’s in a creepy crime-ridden garage that they forgot to mention? Is it out in the middle of nowhere so nobody can ever get out for lunch if they want to? Is the building utterly bereft of windows? Does the business share space with a porn company? Is the “nearby bus stop” actually a mile walk to get across a four-line highway?

All these are things they might not mention to you but that you might want to know. They don’t have to be blatant deal-breakers to be factors that would make a difference to your comfort there and that you’d want to weigh for your decision.

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Long Time Admin July 10, 2012 at 9:24 am

You are so right! I worked in some real rat holes (with real rats!) and in some dangerous neighborhoods, and checking out the building & neighborhood makes a lot of sense to me.

Also, it give you the opportunity to find out if they want you to see the place first, or not. As someone else said, it’s a great big red flag if they won’t let you do that, or meet your potential co-workers.

People with experience can usually tell a lot by seeing their workspace and talking to current employees.

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Ivy July 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Hm… I don’t think I disagree (I tend to agree with you so this is a rare one, Student :P).

90% of communication is nonverbal. I think it is a lot harder to get a sense of what people are like over the phone. You can have a perfectly nice conversation with someone over the phone, only to meet them in person and realize you can’t stand them (maybe they stand too close, maybe they talk loudly, maybe they smell). As well, its almost impossible to get a feel for how the coworkers interact between each other without seeing it in person (which I think is even more important). Are you going to ask for a conference call? Those never work out lol. Also, I think the building can totally affect a decision. I once went to an interview expecting an corporate office and instead got a dark and dreary warehouse with a handful of offices. I have to say the building played a big role in my decision because I knew that I wouldn’t be happy spending most of my day there (it was cold). Maybe the location of the office is impossible to get to without a car and parking is outrageous and not affordable for OP? I know OP could ask these things over the phone… but there are certain things you don’t think to ask until you’re there.

I guess when it comes down to it, OP only has things to gain by going there in person. I don’t think management would have a problem with it. Heck, I think they should be happy that she is concerned about fit and doesn’t want to make any rash decisions. Would they rather she move there and then quit after a couple of weeks?

Finally, phone or email “meetings” are completely different from interviewing and moving to a different city/state/country to start a new job. In the latter you are uprooting your life to start anew, and hoping that you won’t be miserable once you do. It involves making a decision that will probably involve the next few years of your life. Phone and email meetings just don’t carry that same level of importance.

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Ivy July 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

***I think I disagree

Way too many negatives in that first sentence! :P

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sophylou July 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I agree with AAM and Ivy. I accepted not one but two temporary academic-teaching positions based only on phone interviews, both of which involved substantial relocation. I regretted doing this in both cases (academic job market terrible, you feel obligated to take whatever you can get, etc. etc. — now I think, “fool me twice…”) In both cases, an onsite interview would have tipped me off to some very real issues that i think would have affected my decision. I would have learned an enormous amount about the personalities in my department, communication styles, etc., all of which are significant. In the second case, I walked into a HUGE political mess, which was never clarified for me, but which resulted in my newly tiny department being eliminated. I doubt that anyone would have mentioned this in an onsite interview, but I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t have picked up on awkwardness and something being wrong via body language, etc.

Also, I never had the sense at the second position that they had actually wanted to hire *me*; basically, I fit the suit. As it turned out, the chair didn’t like my teaching style, which he would have had a chance to observe if they had done a typical academic onsite interview (which usually involves a teaching demo). And having had an onsite interview would have given *them* a better sense of who *I* was — which I think is an important thing to keep in mind as well, in terms of fit issues.

(Of course, since they knew that they were going to kill off my department anyway, I’d guess “fit” wasn’t exactly an issue….)

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Anon July 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Walking around the office gives you a sense of morale that you aren’t going to get over the phone/internet. In some cases, you can tell right away just being there that this is either a happy place where people get along or that people are not happy. Whether that’s worth the travel costs is hard to say, but gut feelings are hard over the phone.

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Elizabeth West July 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Yep. At Exjob, someone who came in randomly (a vendor) said, “This is the quietest office I’ve ever been in. It’s like a tomb in here!” I just stared at her and blinked like “Help us.” LOL

I actually filled out an app once in an office like that, but with an underlying tension that gave me the willies. It was also incredibly messy and I would have hated working there. I’m so glad they didn’t call me.

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OP July 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Totally agree. I got good vibes over the phone from the panel I was speaking with, but I know that I would feel better accepting the position having met my potential boss in person. With regard to Student’s point: I don’t have any issues working with people I haven’t met in general business. This meeting would be mostly for my own comfort.

The cost isn’t too much of an issue because I would need to find a place to live anyway, so I was planning for relocation purposes (to wherever I receive an offer from).

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Steve G July 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm

At one job I did in the mid 2000s, nothing – the software or office – hadn’t been updated since the 1980s. The next job I had was in a newly renovated building that was very posh, newish computers, and new systems, etc. Not sure if it warrants a plane ride to scope out, but the second one’s environment was obviously more desirable to work in.

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Scientist July 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

For some of us that do a lot of hands-on work, it is important to see the building to get a sense of cleanliness (I work with chemicals), quality of equipment, lab space, etc. Just depends on your job.

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Student July 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I’m a lab-worker too. My feeling is: cleanliness is something you have influence over, and cleanliness is something that will change with every new co-worker. Ditto on safety.

One new co-worker can turn a pristine lab into a rotten-sushi stink-bucket (don’t ask!). Similarly, one new cleanliness-focused co-worker can clean up a dirty workspace littered with safety violations. You probably are not going to be given the green light to check for cleanliness in a lab, and it’s not uncommon for folks to clean up more than usual if visitors (interviewers) are expected. It seems silly to expect that the lab status on your visitation day is a good reflection of how it normally is. I know we hide major safety issues for visitors on a regular basis.

I think it’s a lot more telling to ask your co-workers about their habits in this regard than to look around yourself. “Tell me about the workspace.” “How do you handle XYZ common lab hygiene issue?” “What kind of safety concerns/training do you have?” For medical workers, you can even ask for stats on infections (whether the facility gives them to you is another matter).

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Anonymous July 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

My son is a recent college-graduate and a chemical engineer. He has recently gotten hired the first part of this year and met twice with managers. This seems so odd to me not to be interviewed face-to-face. Although, this is my son’s first professional job, I still cannot imagine someone hiring you without an interview.

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GeekChic July 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I was offered, and accepted, a position in a different country sight-unseen. They were in no position financially to pay my way down for an interview and they did not want to ask me to pay my own way down.

The interview process was a series of two telephone interviews and I did the necessary security and medical clearances through the nearest U.S. consulate. I went down a month early to find a place to live and get the basics sorted out. This was fairly common for them when they looked out of state (branch of municipal government).

I stayed at the job for almost 10 years and it was a great experience. Mind you, I was used to moving around globally quite a bit as a kid due to my father’s occupation.

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De Minimis July 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I just got a firm offer for a Federal position, and it’s a similar situation, got hired based on a phone interview and have never met anyone face to face. I guess it is standard operating procedure when people are applying from a long distance, which I was.

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YALM July 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Interesting question and interesting thread.

As a manager with direct reports all over the globe, most of my hires are people I don’t meet in person during the interview process. Some of my directs I’ve never met in person and probably never will.

However, I’ve never made a hiring decision off of one interview, and I always have promising candidates come in to the office where they will be working to meet with people they’ll be working with. I want the feedback from their potential peers, and I want them to get a feel for the people and the environment they’ll find themselves in if they come on board. It’s far better to know in advance if it’s going to be a bad fit for either party.

Granted, OP’s situation is a little different. Since OP needs to scout out a new place to live to accept the possible job offer, I’d absolutely encourage the OP to ask for an in-person meet and greet combined with a housing hunt in the new locale.

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Fedguy July 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I moved to Alaska without ANY interview for a Federal job – and taking the job was the best decision I ever made. It’s completely normal for Feds to hire based on phone interviews only. Although it varies by agency, most will NOT have funds to cover travel costs for an interview – but these managers don’t want to limit the selection pool to the local area. That said, the hiring official should have no problems allowing you to visit on your own dime first though — but be cautioned they may be up against some weird hiring deadline (hire now or lose the position, have an immediate need if the position is critical , etc). Talk direclty with the hiring official first (not the HR person). Also know that you can negotiate step within a grade at the same time (if you are super-qualified or feel you can negotiate, that is).

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Anonymous July 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Allison, I just want to say THANK YOU! I dont mean to post-jack, but I am posting here as I would like to remain anonymous.

I took and used all your advice back on June 19th. After being unemployed for 16 of the past 20 months I got a new job paying more than my old job.

If individuals are reading this site and are still unemployed, then you are not doing what Allison is advising us to do as job seekers. I am sorry — you just aren’t.

Thank you!

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm

This is the kind of thread hijack I will always welcome :)

Congratulations on your new job! That’s great. Was there anything that was especially helpful for you?

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Anonymous July 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

The first thing I did was re-vamp my resume. I paid a firm close to $450 to work on my resume on two separate occasions. I thought the reason I was not getting any hits was because of the economy. It wasn’t that. My resume was too wordy. I decided to edit my own resume myself. The resume from the resume writers was more geared toward a Manager or Executive than someone who was mid-career, like myself.

Then I took your advice about combing through the job posting. Tailoring my past work experience to what the job posting was looking for.

My phone began to literally ring off the hook about a week and a half ago. I would be on the phone with one organization and another would be calling right behind them. It was crazy but in an awesome way. :)

I practiced my answers. I did everything you said to do.

I don’t have the best references in the world (ie no recent managers) and it worked for me. It should work for ANYONE. Especially if you have solid references.

Now, I can rebuild my life.

Thank you so much Allison for all the advice you give. You have absolutely NO idea.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm

That is so fantastic to hear. Thank you for telling me/us, and enjoy the end of unemployment — hurrah!

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Jamie July 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Umm… While AAM’s advice is definitely super awesome, getting hired is still a numbers game. After a year of unemployment (most of which was spent following the advice given) I recently got a job – as an entry-level retail employee, because as a recent graduate with very little work experience, that was all I was going to get.

Your post is super discouraging to those of us for whom this awesome site hasn’t quite payoff off yet.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Wow, I don’t think this should be discouraging at all — this is someone who found a job after a long period of unemployment. The implication isn’t that if you’re following the advice here and it’s not working for you that something’s wrong with you; it’s that it can and does often pay off, and might at some point for you too.

I think sharing success stories is really valuable. For a lot of people, it helps them keep going.

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Jamie July 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I really am happy for Anon, and again your advice is invaluable. But she is literally saying that if someone hasn’t found a job, they’re doing something wrong – and with all the anxiety that goes along with unemployment, that’s a really harsh message to be putting out, even if she is just excited to have found new opportunities.

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Ask a Manager July 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm

She wrote me a thank-you. If anyone here is on such thin ice mentally than a stranger’s off-hand comment (that you disagree with, no less) can make them feel they’re doing something wrong, that’s a problem.

I get thanked by fewer than 5% of the people I spend my time helping (including answering tons of questions not for publication). This person thanked me. It’s nice. I appreciate it.

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Anonymous July 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Jamie, let me give you an idea of just how bad my references were: I hit the complete manager Trifecta. I had three managers at my last job. they all hated me. The first because s/he pulled our group into his/her office and told us point blank for us to start spying on the other team. I wouldn’t do it. S/he hated me. The second manager refused to enter my pay properly. He/She wanted to blame me. I refused to take the blame because I had ZERO authority to enter how much I should be paid. Only the manager/supervisor. He/She hated me. The last manager wanted to exact revenge on behalf of his/her fellow managers that came before him/her. He/She hated me….just because. NONE of them agreed to be a reference for me.

Who do I blame for my decision to stay in such a TOXIC environment? ME!

Boy, do I wish I’d heard of Allison 5 years ago. No way in hades would I had stayed in that place a minute longer. Everyone I talked to told me don’t bother leaving because its like that everywhere. WRONG. I was stupid enough to listen to that garbage. I am in such a cool/awesome environment. Everyone is so welcoming. It is a breath of fresh air. It IS possible to rebuild. Take on EVERY SINGLE BIT OF ADVICE. I MEAN EVERY WORD. DON’T SKIP OVER ANYTHING.

If it can work with me, with the mess I let myself get wrapped up in, it will work for everyone. In 11 days after making the changes Alison suggested, I had 2 firm offers and 5 solid interviews that I am sure would have lead to offers.

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fposte July 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Congratulations, Anon, and many happy paychecks to come.

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Jamie July 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I am really happy for you! Getting out of that environment sounds amazing. But AAM is always very clear that (not) getting hired, as often as not, comes down to the simple fact that there are a ton of qualified candidates and not very many positions. And there are some candidates (such as recent graduates like myself, people returning to the workforce after a spouse loses a job, etc.) who -aren’t- extremely qualified. All the cover letter work in the world isn’t going to convince many employers to hire someone with little to no experience.

My first comment was a little harsh, and I apologize. But being told that my inability to get a decent job is just because I wasn’t writing a good enough resume or cover letter (and yes, I believe I’ve read every single post on this site) was pretty hurtful itself.

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Ask a Manager July 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Please don’t give comments from strangers (that you even disagree with!) the power to hurt you. Very bad for your quality of life.

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Long Time Admin July 10, 2012 at 9:39 am

“If individuals are reading this site and are still unemployed, then you are not doing what Allison is advising us to do as job seekers. I am sorry — you just aren’t.”

I’m glad that you found a good job, and you should be happy. However, in your elation, you overlooked the fact that your above comment is a real slap in the face to everyone who is doing all these things, and still has not found a job. The truth is, we’re all competing against dozens, if not hundreds, of other people for jobs.

Just because we’re getting good advice here doesn’t mean the hiring managers and HR people know who to hire a good candidate. If I go into a job interview and the HR person or hiring manager doesn’t like my lipstick, that could end it for me. Or if I don’t wear any lipstick and they think I’m not polished enough, that could do it. It’s not that we’re not following Alison’s advice, it’s that some hiring people don’t know what they’re doing.

I’m truly happy for you finding a new job, and I hope that you’re happy there for many years.

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Ask a Manager July 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

I really can’t believe people are parsing the poster’s words like that. Obviously she doesn’t believe the site is a magic potion. She found a job. She’s happy. She’s sharing it. Geez.

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Anonymous July 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I read it the same way and I completely agree with LTA & Jamie. This part comes across very poorly.

“If individuals are reading this site and are still unemployed, then you are not doing what Allison is advising us to do as job seekers. I am sorry — you just aren’t.”

To those that are frustrated with the job hunt, it’s not fun to hear someone tell them they’re doing it wrong.

I’m sure Anon didn’t mean it that way, but it comes across that way none the less.

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V July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

“If individuals are reading this site and are still unemployed, then you are not doing what Allison is advising us to do as job seekers. I am sorry — you just aren’t.” I think this is what she was referring to. A little rough, but I get what the poster means.

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm

That’s clearly the perspective of someone excited because she changed her approach and got a job. Let’s cut some slack here. She’s sharing good news.

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Rana July 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I’m willing to cut her a bit of slack, but I do have to agree with the others that it does feel a bit like an attack on people who’ve not been so lucky. Her comment implies that if you’re unemployed, either (a) you’re not doing the right things and it’s therefore your fault, or (b) you may think you’re doing the right things, but you’re wrong.

Given that these are messages that unemployed people both hear *a lot* from friends, family and colleagues, and may well come to think it themselves, it’s disheartening to hear this yet again. The effect makes the commenter’s enthusiasm come across as gloating, which I doubt was her intent, but it’s still hurtful.

And in a context where you can be amazing, and do all the right things, and _still_ not have a job, it comes across as victim-blaming to suggest that the only variable is what the job-seeker does or doesn’t do.

(I say this as a survivor of the terrible academic job market in my field, one in which it took about ten years for the profession as a whole to grasp that the problem was about a 100 to 1 ratio (or worse) of candidates to jobs. There was a lot of “helpful advice” that basically boiled down to “you must suck if you haven’t found a job yet, so here’s some ways to suck less, like checking your cover letter for typos” and a lot of smugness on the part of people who were employed and considered this proof of their excellence – nevermind that equally excellent people were not getting jobs. And, yes, I still have scars.)

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Ask a Manager July 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I think I’m surprised that people are taking that one sentence so literally rather than attributing it to exaggeration in a happy moment.

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Rana July 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Gotcha. I guess I’m sympathetic because there were a few years there where practically *any* social gathering turned into lectures how I could “fix” myself and endless rounds of “have you tried X? Oh, well, how about Y? Oh, perhaps Z then”, to the point where I seriously considered avoiding family events because it was just too upsetting.

It took me about five years to get over it (mostly) and there are still some days where I can find such discussions triggering. So I can understand how someone who is still dealing with “helpful” relatives and friends while coping with the stress and self-doubt that goes with being unemployed, might be a bit sensitive about such things.

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Anonymous July 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I’m not offended by it. If you’ve ever worked with younger people, you’ve heard much worse. God knows I have. I actually found the rudeness sandwiched in-between the gushing to be funny and rather twee. But I thought it was a stupid thing to say, and like mh_76 said in another post, it would be a boring world if everyone agreed all the time.

Curious to see if everyone was indeed just too sensitive, I whipped out my mobile and showed the remark to my three downstairs neighbors when we had a cocktail together before dinner. They all agreed the comment was rude, and one of the guys felt it requires more justification to view it as a pep-talk than to take it for what it is. Two are employed full-time and one is in a PhD program, so they have no dog in the fight.

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Anonymous July 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm

From a professional perspective, I had absolutely nothing going for me. I should not had gotten the opportunities I had. I have no manager reference. I have some references from volunteer work but that is it. I live in a state that is in the TOP 10 for unemployment at almost 9%. I am not gloating. I just know the denial I use to be in about myself, my resume and my situation. Taking ownership about the decisions I have made have changed my career.

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De Minimis July 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I have a similar story, but with a different spin. I’ve been reading AAM for around 4 years now, after encountering difficulties when I began a new job. Alison’s website didn’t help save my job [got let go after finishing out the year] but it did allow me to see what was happening and to try to prepare for it.

Three years and a lot of interviews later, I’ve finally gotten another full-time job [I did manage to get a part-time gig not long ago, with a lot of help from the resources here.] It was a long difficult time but I feel that Alison’s site really helped me improve my interviewing and even when I was being rejected many times I would be told that I had asked great questions. Even though it was discouraging at times I felt that I was getting somewhere and was improving almost every time I interviewed, until I finally managed to click with the right person [albeit only over the phone] and finally found what seems to be the right opportunity to get my career back on track.

I agree that it is very much a numbers game and it can be discouraging, but I think if people keep trying and following the advice here that eventually they will find the job that is right for them, even if in some cases it may mean a tough relocation [such as my case.]

My next step is to try and follow the advice here as far as succeeding in your job! Thanks Alison!

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Ask a Manager July 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Hey, congratulations! That’s awesome. (And thank you for sharing these stories. They mean a lot to me.)

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Anonymous July 10, 2012 at 6:04 am

Far more nuanced and reflective of truth. The advice here is awesome, but is not a magic wand. Right job, right fit, right chemistry & all the right things done (as per AAM)…voila, job offer :)

Congrats anon up there…even if its a bit hard on the rest of us!

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Laura July 11, 2012 at 1:03 am

I was hired to work for a very large software company without ever having a face-t0-face interview. This was a consulting position, and required a great deal of travel, and the people I spoke with were scattered around the country. I got a hard copy of the offer letter, but the first person I met was the project admin on my first day of employment. So depending on the type of position, it’s possible that there would be no face-to-face interview.

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Nicole July 11, 2012 at 1:15 am

I recently accepted, and resigned from, an online job as a remote employee. I applied to an online tutoring position with a major company that also published textbooks. Months later I get an email saying, “Congratulations you’ve been hired! You have three days to notarize these papers and mail them to us.” It had been so long since I applied, this company wasn’t even on my radar! And they were already giving me deadlines! But, I was excited to get the job and started training. It was really weird though – no interview. No human contact till halfway through training. Except for when I had to call the helpdesk because someone in HR misspelled my name and I couldn’t access my email. A bad omen, I think.

That first email was really telling about the company’s culture, and I quit before training was over. It that’s what it was like starting out, I figured it would only get worse.

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john September 9, 2013 at 3:32 am

I had 3 phone interview with a very large company. first phone interview is with HR 2nd phone round is with 2 person panel and 3rd phone interview with 5 person panel. There where supposed to have a 4 round which may be skype or Face to Face. But suddenly they decided to offer me. Is the any reason to raise a red flag. I have to relocate for this position. they are paying the relocate exp.

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The IT Manager September 9, 2013 at 11:06 am

best to email Allison directly.

I don’t hire people, but I don’t think it is a red flag, though. I think they liked you. Before you accept, though, have they answered all of your questions? You have been interviewing them as much as they’ve been interviewing you right?

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john September 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Yes they answered all my question clearly.
The interview process was divided in three step.
1st the HR round. then the HR schedule the 2nd phone interview, then the HR schedule the 3rd round with a bigger panel. Then after 15 working day they drop me a mail to let know that they want to offer me. But doubt came into my mind because I was expecting a face to face round. As the HR personnel told me that there can be a face to face. But why suddenly they skip that round.
Is there any reason to be cautious.

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john September 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

Can anybody please help me to clear the confusion.

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john September 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Can any body please guide me

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Ask a Manager September 9, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Hi John, this post is from a year ago so it doesn’t get much traffic anymore!

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john September 10, 2013 at 12:47 am

i just want to know is there any reason for a red flag

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